Credit Card Statements: “English Words, Strung Together”

Confused by your credit card agreement? You’re not alone.

Back in 2008, 41% of people in an AARP survey said that information from financial services companies is “not so or not at all helpful”

Fast forward to 2010, when the Credit CARD Act went into effect. went to the streets of Austin to see whether people they met on the street could make sense of a typical credit card agreement. As they put it, “It wasn’t pretty.”

This video is part of a report from They wanted to see how well the companies were meeting requirements that they explain their agreements, including interest rates, penalties, and how to pay off the loan clearly, in plain language.

They analyzed more than 1,200 card agreements posted on the Federal Reserve web site. They found a few easy-to-read agreements, but most were long, dense, and full of terminology that would confuse most people.

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Center for Plain Language (

Printed April 20, 2014


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